American taxpayers got a stimulus check this spring to help deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, but many believe one will not be enough. People from all along the political spectrum believe another financial relief package is in order, and lawmakers agree. There are currently at least seven plans for the next stimulus check out there.
The U.S. government has passed four coronavirus relief bills so far, with the last one being the CARES Act, which provided a stimulus check to every eligible taxpayer. Even at the time, however, some were speculating that a one-time payment would not see Americans through this crisis. Now that most of those checks have found their way into people's pockets, some wonder when the next round might come. Sadly, the answer is complicated, with many possible solutions. Some lawmakers favor moving fast on the next check, while others want to move carefully, but still, others want to wait and see how the economy fares.
The coronavirus pandemic will carry on for a while, as some states are lifting stay-at-home orders, medical experts say it will be a while before it is safe to truly re-open public spaces as usual. This weekend, the unemployment rate hit 38 million people, while new cases and COVID-19 deaths continue to rise.
Congress has already passed a new coronavirus relief bill called the HEROES Act, which needs approval from the Senate. That might be a tall order, however, and the Senate will not formally reconvene until June 1. In the meantime, Congress has other proposals to consider, as does the Senate. Anything that both legislatures can agree on must be signed by President Donald Trump, who seems to be in favor of more stimulus payments.
What those payments will look like could vary widely, however. Here's a break-down of the different stimulus packages the U.S. government is currently considering.
People are facing an unprecedented crisis—one that directly impacts their jobs, health care, and daily lives. We must deliver relief, certainty, and a response that matches the scale of the crisis.
While the Heroes Act contains some good components, it fails to achieve that:— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 16, 2020
The U.S. Congress passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act last Friday, sending all 1,815 pages of it on to the Senate. Many Senators have said that the bill is doomed in the Republican-majority Senate, with some controversial provisions that they see as "partisan" and unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic. Others speculate that these are bargaining chips that Congress is willing to negotiate over.
The HEROES Act approves another $3 trillion in federal aid, including another round of stimulus checks for the American people. Much like the CARES Act, these checks would be worth up to $1,200 per individual, but some of the kinks have worked out, ensuring that full-time college students and other dependent adults get the payments. Still, even among Democrats and many critics say this bill does not go far enough to help the American people.
Emergency Money for the People Act
The data is in: people are using their cash assistance payments to keep a roof over their head or put food on the table.— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) May 23, 2020
This is why I continue to fight for putting money directly in the hands of hard-working Americans. #EMPAhttps://t.co/VSlpXhwuNH
Before Speaker for the House, Nancy Pelosi introduced the HEROES Act, the leading coronavirus relief proposal was the Emergency Money for the People Act, introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio. Technically, the bill is still under consideration, with a total of 39 cosponsors at the time of this writing.
Rather than a one-time payment, this bill would provide the American people with a stimulus check every month for at least six months — or until the coronavirus crisis is over. Each check would be worth up to $2,000, considering criteria like a person's income and whether they have children.
Automatic Boost to Communities Act
Let's #MinttheCoin already & pass the #ABCAct:— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 9, 2020
✔recharged $2k/month debit cards to ensure the unbanked & underbanked have access
✔Creates the 1st responders corp that helps our most vulnerable & hardest hit
✔$1000/month after the pandmeic
✔and no one is left behind! https://t.co/VvF7YZyySX
A similar act called the Automatic Boost to Communities Act (ABC Act) was introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. This act also provides monthly payments worth up to $2,000, but in this case, for at least a year, as they argue that is how long the economic fallout from this pandemic will last.
One of the big things that sets the ABC Act apart is its specific inclusion of nonresident aliens. It also provides an additional $2,000 for dependent children, meaning that big families could draw a maximum of $8,000 per month from this bill. Finally, it stipulates that payments should continue for a year after the coronavirus crisis, tapering off to $1,000.
Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act
My Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act with @BernieSanders and @EdMarkey would:— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 9, 2020
✅Provide a monthly $2,000 payment to individuals, including children
✅Last throughout this pandemic and for three months after
✅Debt collectors would be forbidden from seizing the payments
There are other proposals at play in the Senate as well, where Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts have put forth the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. This bill proposes up to $2,000 monthly payments like the two above it, continuing until three months after the coronavirus pandemic is finished. Though Democrats are in the minority in the Senate, this bill shows how lawmakers are thinking along similar lines.
Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act
Any relief package must:
•Make cash assistance universal and monthly
•Halt foreclosures *and* evictions
•Freeze all deportations
•Cancel student debt
•Pay for small business losses
•Bail out workers, not corporations
Here are some steps I have been taking to ensure this.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 22, 2020
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which would allow both renters and lenders to go without housing payments for a year without negatively impacting their credit scores. The bill would create a special fund within the Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay landlords and mortgage holders for their lost revenue through the coronavirus pandemic, so that no Americans would have to worry about losing their housing.
Getting America Back to Work Act
If you want to make the American economy strong, make the American worker strong.
This means rehiring workers and protecting jobs so that we can restart the economy. That's how we come out of this crisis strong. https://t.co/PhcDLXS6hr— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) May 22, 2020
While all of the above proposals come from Democrats, there is one from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri at play in the Senate. The Getting America Back to Work Act would create a refundable payroll tax rebate for employers, covering up to 80 percent of their payroll costs up to the minimum wage. The idea here is that it would incentivize employers to retain their staff throughout the pandemic so that Americans would get paid part of their usual salary through their job instead of through stimulus payments. Advocates say it would also make it easier for businesses to re-open quickly when it is safe.
Trump has spoken favorably about payroll tax cuts at times, though he has also praised stimulus checks more recently. Some pundits have suggested that the Senate will try to ignore the HEROES Act and promote something like Hawley's plan in its place. It is not clear how Congress would respond to this tactic.
Sen. Sherrod Brown's Proposal
Health experts agree there is a safe way to reopen.
I sent my plan to reopen the country to the President last month - but he has yet to take any meaningful action.
He failed to prepare us for this crisis, & now he’s failing to get us out of it.https://t.co/nih34z1qtO— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) May 21, 2020
Finally, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has stated his intention to propose yet another stimulus package that has yet to be named. Brown reportedly wants to find a middle ground, suggesting that Americans get regular payments of up to $2,000 throughout the pandemic, but once per quarter, not once per month. If Brown still intends to put this idea forward, it will have to come soon to compete with other existing bills.
For the latest information on your stimulus check, visit the IRS' Get My Payment website. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic itself, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.